On "Friends & Family" from [artist id="1162710"]Talib Kweli[/artist]'s new album Gutter Rainbows, the Brooklyn wordsmith travels down memory lane recalling years past. One of the friends who made it on the track was Kanye West.
The superstar rapper and producer worked on the Black Star MC's solo debut, 2002's Quality, and 'Ye is the same guy now as he was then, according to Kweli.
"When I first met Kanye, he was humble and arrogant at the same time, which means that he humbled himself to me, Mos Def and Common and wanted to sign to Rawkus," he told MTV News. "And he would come to the shows and studio sessions and soak it up. But he would soak it up and also at the same time be like, 'I'm the best rapper out. I'm the best-dressed rapper out.' Even back then, he would be [like], 'I'm the best-dressed rapper,' and he didn't even have a deal. You not even a rapper yet. How you the best-dressed rapper, you know?"
Kweli recalled hearing 'Ye's debut album before it was released and the track "Hey Mama," which eventually made its way on his sophomore effort, Late Registration.
"When he played me that, I was like, 'This is what hip-hop is supposed to sound like in the future,' " Kweli said.
The combination of the music's personal message, slang, positive nature and celebration of materialism moved him.
"It had the makings of everything," Kweli explained. "This is the complete hip-hop artist right here."
What do you think of Talib's early assessment of Kanye? Let us know in the comments!